Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Slackening off of live exports sees end to quote rises


Joe Healy

Unlike Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, sheep farmers had plenty of reason to sing over the last week as strong live exports resulted in factory quotes hitting 485c/kg. In one factory, the price rose by 35c/kg over the past month. This is the equivalent of up to €8/hd. However, a slackening off of live exports has led to quotes dropping after five weeks of continuous increases.

Only Kepak Athleague has retained its quote at last week's level, where the base remains at 470c/kg plus the bonus. On the other hand, its neighbour, Dawn Ballyhaunis, has pulled its base quote by 10c/kg to 460c/kg plus the bonus. On quotes alone, this reflects a difference of €2.25-2.30/lamb. Other plants on this low quote are the two ICMs. A drop of 5c/kg leaves Kildare Chilling on 465c/kg plus its double bonus of six and 5c/kg. Kepak Hacketstown's quote of 470c/kg plus 5c/kg was for yesterday only. Despite a decrease of 5c/kg, Moyvalley's all-in 480c/kg keeps it in top spot for the third week in a row.

As the Eid al-Adha festival finished at sunset yesterday, the €5/kg that some farmers successfully negotiated over the past week is not available this week, with 490c/kg the new limit that plants are being pushed to.

The IFA's James Murphy said that farmers were resisting the downward pressure from the processors and were securing prices of 490-495c/kg, with tight supplies and the value of Sterling helping the market.

Quotes for the cull ewes have stayed steady. The ICM plants, Kildare and Kepak Hacketstown continue to offer 270c/kg. In a reversal of the difference in the lamb quotes, Dawn Ballyhaunis's 260c/kg is 10c/kg better than the 250c/kg being quoted by Kepak Athleague.

The global sheep trade was unchanged over the past week, according to Bord Bia, as a lift in Irish supplies was matched by stronger export demand due to the Eid al-Adha festival.

Quotes for lambs remained largely unchanged at €4.75kg for most of the week. Similarly, the cull ewe trade remained mostly similar as tight supplies, combined with ongoing strong demand for manufacturing product, resulted in prices making around €2.70/kg.

Sheep supplies to date are running almost 1pc higher than the same period last year.

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In the UK, trade has strengthened on the back of some lift in demand in the French market, combined with some favourable exchange rate movements.

By the weekend, livemarket prices were unchanged, at the equivalent of €4.93/kg inclusive of VAT for lambs.

In France, prices for limited volumes of Irish grade 1 lamb were reportedly making up to €5.37/kg including VAT by the end of the week, as demand benefited from the lead up to the Eid al-Adha festival.

Elsewhere, the UK sheep flock showed a slight recovery, reflecting some renewed confidence within the sector on the back of stronger producer prices.

Numbers are 1pc higher at 31.4m head, which indicates that lamb supplies from the UK will be higher for next year.

Indo Farming

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